(This request is based on the assumption that Airtable triggers and actions for Zapier and IFTTT are developed by or in conjunction with Airtable staff. If that’s not the case, please disregard.)
I realize this request probably prioritizes in the upper triple/low quadruple digits, but if there’s a slack moment sometime in 2025, it would be nice to have an action that allowed a field’s default value to be modified.
The trigger [ahem] for this request was a 10-month-old post regarding currency exchange rates that recently bubbled up, but the method could apply to stock or commodity prices, daily high/low/average temperatures, manager on call — essentially any variable used in a transaction where it is essential to retain the value of the variable at the time of the transaction.
I’ve used a text or numeric field with a default value with much success as a way to track a variable that changes infrequently but is expected to vary over the life of a base — a pricing schedule, for instance, or the default unit of measure to use if one is not explicitly specified. I define the field (typically hidden) in my
[Transaction] table so the then-current default value is stored with each transaction. That way, I know I sold a gross of wax lips under schedule 18A, at $5 per gross, rather than $7.50 a gross under schedule 18B; in six months, when the customer sends them back with a note saying, “I ordered wax fangs,” this becomes an important distinction.
Currently, this technique suffices for variables that change often enough for one to remember there is a procedure to follow yet infrequently enough the change is unlikely to get lost in the shuffle. It seems to me if default values could be changed by middleware, based on a trigger, it would open a range of possible new uses for Airtable.
(I realize essentially the same functionality could be provided by having Zapier or IFTTT directly update the field in each new transaction; however, I prefer the middleware middle ground of updating the default value. Doing so avoids the possibility of new transactions waiting incomplete until the next scheduled query by the middleware; it also provides for a manual workaround at periods when the service is unavailable. It also seems excessive to have middleware modify every transaction in cases where the variable in question is only updated daily — for instance, the closing price of a stock, currency, or commodity.)
- I should also mention it currently only works if new transactions are created directly from the
[Transaction]table; if I drill through from another table via a linked record, Airtable ignores any default values configured in
[Transaction]. I’m hoping this will be corrected in an upcoming release.